Why is three-finger salute from Hunger Games banned in Thailand?


Thailand last Saturday (December 14) witnessed one of its biggest protests since the 2014 military coup, during which once again the favorite Thai way of protest -the raised arm three-finger salute from the Hunger Games made a comeback.

Since the May 22, 2014 coup the raised arm salute became an unofficial symbol of opposition against the ruling junta that has squashed all forms of freedom of expression.

The Thai's but have found a creative way of protest in the silent three-finger salute from Jennifer Lawrence starrer Hunger Games movie.

In the capital city of Bangkok, an estimated 10,000 plus protesters showed up to protest against a move to ban a party that has rallied opposition to the government of former military ruler Prayuth Chan-ocha.

The demonstration in Bangkok was called by Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a 41-year-old billionaire.

three finger salute

The Future Forward party that is fast becoming a thorn in the flesh of the military junta in Thailand has faced a string of legal cases, including its Thananthorn was stripped of his MP status for alleged violations of regulations concerning media ownership.

The most recent attack from the government came in the form of a suggestion for a complete ban on the party over the allegation that the Fast Forward accepted a loan from Thanathorn, which was a violation of the code conduct that governs political parties in Thailand.

The supporters of the party, however, see this as a move to comprise the people's movement that aims to restore democracy back into Thailand.

"This is just the beginning," Thanathorn told his supporters before ending the an-hour long protest. "I think it shows that people will not tolerate dictatorship anymore." Many demonstrators held up a three-finger salute to show their support.

The Fast Forward party uses the three-finger salute often during its rallies. The symbol has come to represent many things for the Thai protesters, who enjoy limited freedom in the country.

For some the symbol represents, the three values of the french revolution: liberty, equality, fraternity, while others call it has a symbol for freedom, election, and democracy.

The Hunger Games salute when it was first used in Thailand in 2014, represented the three main demands of the protestors: 1. No Coup, 2. Liberty, 3. Democracy.

During the peak of the anti-coup movement, silent protesters often used to raise "3 fingers, 3 times a day" in public places where there were no police or military presence. The junta then had warned that it will arrest anybody who is seen flashing the three-finger sign.